Sudden Death

A detailed report from the Coroners inquest appeared in the Western Post two days after MacNamara died:

From Western Post 31 August 1861 [transcribed from microfiche by Annette Piper 2002]
An inquest as held on Friday morning, by W KING, Esq., M.D. Coroner for this District, at the Fountain of Friendship, on the body of Francis McNAMARA, alias HILL, better known as "Frank the Poet".

Robert WELSH having been sworn, said that the deceased had resided with him on the Pipe Clay Creek diggings. They came into Mudgee together on Wednesday, deceased left him, and promised to meet him by a certain time at Mr McQUIGGAN's. He then went to PHILLIPS', and found him in bed; he asked for some water; he was half drunk. He advised deceased to get up; he replied "Put your hand in my pocket and take out what is there". Had known him for eight years. He had a complaint which caused him to spit blood. He earned a great deal of money, and spent it very freely; had known him to obtain "hundreds a week" at Tambaroora. The wind used to annoy him very much in the hut in which he resided. He was no better for his visit to Mudgee. The day before they had been drinking together all day off and on.

John McDERMID deposed: That he had been working with previous witness since the end of last month; he came into Mudgee on Thursday to see what was keeping him and deceased. He met WELSH, who was nearly tipsy, in PHILLIPS' tap-room and said "You promised not to get drunk" He replied how can I help it, Frank is very bad. He then went to see deceased, who made no reply to a question he put to him respecting his health. Shortly after, he called WELSH and told him to get some money owing to him in Mudgee, and to give him (witness) half, and died directly after. He used to complain of a pain in his shoulder. During the time he resided with them his appetite was good. He had no effects, excepting some papers. He never cared for clothes. Arthur Thomas Piggott CUTTING, being duly sworn, stated that he was a duly qualified medical practitioner; he had viewed and examined the body and it was opinion that the deceased came to his death by the effects of cold and inanition. The jury found a verdict accordingly.

The same detailed report from the Western Post appeared in The Empire 4 September 1861
The news of his death was also carried in a shortened form in the NSW regional newspaper the Maitland Mercury:

The Maitland Mercury 7 September 1861
(From the Western Post, August 31.)
SUDDEN DEATH.—An inquest was held on the 30th,
before the coroner for the district, on the body of Francis
McNamara, better known as "Frank the Poet." It ap-
peared that McNamara was a digger at Pipe Clay Creek.
He had lately complained of a pain in the shoulder, and
had been spitting blood. The medical evidence was to
the effect that he had died from cold and inanition; and
the jury returned a verdict according to that evidence.


Paragon Hotel Mudgee - Owned by John McGuiggan - former name Bushman's Arms
MacNamara's death was reported in at least three NSW newspapers. These notices show that Francis MacNamara died on Thursday 29 August 1861.

The local Mudgee paper the Western Post suggests MacNamara made considerable money from his gold prospecting in Tambaroora, Hill End, corroborating the Sydney Morning Herald report of him working as a gold miner there at the end of 1853. Robert Welsh had 'known him for eight years' so would have met him then. Welsh's evidence is corroborated a year later in a report of him at Clarke's Creek, Meroo in the Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal. The fact MacNamara 'earned a great deal of money and spent it very freely' conjures up the possibility he may have written 'Tambaroora Gold'.